First Published: 2003-04-15

Iran sends strong message to US about Syria

Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council warns any US action against Syria would be prelude to action against Iran.


Middle East Online

Syria was the only Arab country during our war with Iraq that stood by us

TEHRAN - Any US military action against Syria should be seen as a prelude to action against Iran, the secretary of Iran's powerful Expediency Council said Tuesday.

Moreover, if Syria were attacked, Iran should not remain neutral as it has during the US-led war on Iraq, Mohsen Rezaie told a press conference.

"Syria was the only Arab country during our war with Iraq that stood by us," said Rezaie, referring to the vicious 1980-1988 conflict that left some 750,000 Iranian dead.

"During the war with Iraq, we even sent our planes to Syria to hit Iraqi targets, so leaders ought to be aware of that past," he added.

"The US threats against Syria are not comparable to the threats against Iran, but any action against Syria is a prelude to one against Iran," said Rezaie, who headed Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards under former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

Rezaie said Syria is one of four countries along with Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan "where the US wants to gain a foothold."

Syria's policies towards Israel and the presence of its army in Lebanon "have made US and Israeli interests converge in pursuing a US presence there."

He added that "policy of detente" (of current President Mohamad Khatami) towards the US has failed.

The "Americans will soon present Iran with a series of new demands," he said without elaborating.


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